Friday, June 29, 2012

Nebraska, Day Two. Also known as Awkward Catholic Wedding Day.

I think we all know that I'm not a fan of organized religion. I think it's just a big cult but whatever people need to cling to to get through life, you go for it. But Catholics are the ones who really piss me off because they have ridiculously long weddings.

The whole purpose of the Nebraska trip was to go to the wedding for Matt's third cousin. Yeah, you read that right, third cousin. Quite frankly, had I known this was a THIRD cousin I would not have agree to go because who invites a third cousin? Frankly, it's kind of gift grabby. I send Christmas cards to these people because my mother in law insists I do, and the fact that we don't get one back yet we're invited to this wedding? It's kind of fucking ballsy if you ask me. But alas, we've done our familial duty.

Anyways. We get to this church which is in the middle of fucking nowhere Nebraska and it's your typical country church. We get inside, it's much larger on the inside than it looks and it's actually really pretty. Despite not being religious, I do like to look at the interior of churches. Go figure. Anyways. Upon looking at the program I can't help but notice that the flower girl? Is the groom's daughter. Um, hold the fucking boat. Now, I know I'm not Catholic (although I am baptized Catholic, take that, baby Jeebus!)but I'm fairly certain that having a Catholic ceremony when you've been married or have out of wed lock kids is kind of frowned upon? I mean, I know you can confess your sins and shit but really? I feel like this is the worst part of religion that makes it lose it's point- if you can just confess and say you're sorry and all is well... what religious lesson are you really learning here? Anyways, that was just odd.

Not to mention the surprising amount of adult women (and not just 20somethings, folks) coming into church with skirts short enough that I can see butt cheeks and clothes that look like they are going clubbing afterwards. Now, I was always taught that you had to go to church dressed modestly and covered the fuck up, so I had a sleeveless dress but I brought a light sweater to put over my arms because hello- I don't need a plastic Jesus staring at me from the wall being all judgey.

Not to mention? It was hot as fuck in there and long as hell. Is communion necessary for these things? Is all of the praying really important especially when the divorce rate is like 50% or something? I mean, let's all save ourselves some time and get to the meal. But for kids who never go to church? Mine were best behaved, hands down. The church kids are whiny, crying, screaming, climbing on their parents, it was ridiculous.

 But they made it through it and were total troopers.

The reception was in another little town down the road so we left the church and headed there. And quickly got real fucking bored waiting for the party to get started.

 Thank god they had snacks in the form of Gardetto's (no, I'm not joking) because the meal itself was really crappy. But before we get to that? The bride and groom left the church in a "party bus" which is not as nice as a party bus in say... a city. Because that usually entails a really nice limo or some super nice converted bus that doesn't look ghetto. Nope, not here. It's like a retired city bus painted red. Not joking. And they pull it INTO the reception venue, again.. not joking.And they all get off the bus while I really terribly edited version of that annoying Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta A Feeling" song played. Not joking. It ends abruptly and the party is taken down into the negatives.
 Matt got stuck talking to senile old people while I entertained the kids at the table. The meal was pork, corn and what I suspect to be some kind of potato though I can't be sure. The thing to note about the meal was that it was cold. And gross. I also was reminded that both families here are pig farmers, so a lot of Little Wilbur's were killed for this meal and that just upped the gross factor. Those who know me know that I like my foods processed and injected with as many dyes as possible. We left after the desert bar because that was mostly chocolate cool whip being passed off as cheesecake. Bitches, I know cheesecake and what you're offering me is not cheesecake.
 So before we left, we took an obligatory family photo.
 Then a really great one of Matt and I. This might be my new favorite picture of us.

On the way to the reception I saw this sign that was everything I could have hoped for while visiting a hick farming community and more. So on the way back to the hotel I made Matt drive out of his way so I could get a good picture of it. Once you see it, you'll understand why I do these things for you.
Because nothing else in the world would cap of a day of hick proportions such as this sign. There are so many oral sex connotations here that it kind of proves innocence is still alive somewhere.

Marriage Confidential.

For all of my married readers, I am telling you right now to put this on your book buying list. If you are getting ready to get married and think it's going to be full of love, cuddling and bliss, you need to purchase this book. If you are on the verge of divorce because the "passion is gone", you need to buy this book.

Marriage Confidential - Pamela Haag


With bracing candor, Marriage Confidential take us inside a world where romantic ideas have given way to a “post-romantic” mood and a fair number of marriages end up “semi-happy.” It’s a world where the husbands of “workhorse wives” pursue the Having It All dream that married women have abandoned; where children have migrated from the children’s table to the centerpiece; and where technology, demography, and economy place unprecedented stresses on marital fidelity. Among other examples of marriage trailblazers, Haag even presents a case for how updated ideas of non-monogamy might be an option for the future.
Uniquely weaving together cultural commentary, memoir, storytelling, history, and research, Marriage Confidential gives us a riveting glimpse of what the future of marriage might look like.
Just within the introduction I found myself nodding my head fully agreeing and feeling like FINALLY. Finally someone really gets it. The author talks about how a lot marriages become "melancholy" where it isn't bad, but something feels missing leading you to constantly ask yourself, "Is this it?". She talks about how this is really hitting home for the couples who are seemingly living the American Dream- we have homes, we have careers, we have families, we have a spouse, we have everything people hope for in their lives and yet... it's not enough. But why is it not enough? I have had several conversations with friends who are in the same boat and we all wonder why marriages now don't last like our parents or even grandparent's marriages did. The book talks about how back then, marriage was where people start their lives. They got married and then built their lives together. Now, people are getting married after they've gone to school, started a career, maybe you already have a home, or even children. It makes total sense. If we already have all of these things when we enter into marriage, what is there left to build? 
I also found it interesting that the notion that feminism really screwed us in the end was made. I mean, feminists started with good intentions seeking equality but when they start waving the "We can have it all" flag meaning a home, family, and career they kind of doomed us into unhappiness. Think of every mom you know that works full time and yet is still the main caretaker of the family: how happy are they? Eventually a person is going to burn out. But then think of the stay at home moms you know: how happy are they? They've lost a certain level of independence and freedom as they stay home to care for the children. Either option you look at has pros and cons. 
I really enjoyed this book and swallowed it up quickly and really covers a LOT of information. I feel like if people who are married read this book and really fully understood that no matter WHO you marry, you'll end up here. Really, the grass might be greener somewhere else but eventually weeds creep in. You just have to be on top of them and cultivate your marriage. Marriage is hard ass work and it never ends. We talk about how you parent your children forever, well you have to put just as much effort into your marriage. If your partner doesn't want to work as hard as you, make them. Inspire them to want it just as much as you do. It's really a fascinating read and absolutely genius. 
Go HERE to see what other bloggers are saying, and please check out Pamela's website or her Facebook page

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lillian is going bat shit crazy.

Before I forget, let's do the winners for the two book giveaways I have ending this week:

Brand New Human Being: Kathy!
A Lighter Shade of Gray: Patricia Crowley!

I will try to email you both, but feel free to contact me first if you see this! Email me at: sarastrand9438(at)hotmail(dot)com.

So I was going to post about day 2 of Nebraska but events from today have made me put that off until tomorrow. Folks, Lillian has gone fucking CRAZY. I have admittedly done nothing in order to get rid of her because I fear I will look bat shit crazy trying to explain to "experts" what my problem is. Matt says he does not trust that I will do the sage thing or the entrance cleaning thing right and I will in fact, fuck it all up worse. Which I can't blame him, because I'm just not good with things that have a lot of steps and requirements. It's just not a skill I have, bitches.

But the main thing we experience with Lil is the lights flashing in the cubby hole. Which honestly? Isn't so bad now that we're used to it. She's OK during True Blood and that's what's important here. She doesn't like my VH1 reality shows and starts going all blinky and if any of us suffered from seizures, we would be doing it non stop. We've gotten used to it and when she gets bad if we say, "Stop it, Lillian!", it usually stops for the night.

Well, today? She has moved out of the cubby. She has started fucking with lights. Like, actual lights. The light in the stairway only flips on when she wants it to. Or she'll start doing her spazzy blinking on the stairs. The cats hiss at nothing when I come down the stairs on my way to bed. She is starting to blink in my scrapbook closet. Even now the kids are freaking out about the lights. Last night I was wide awake in bed because something felt... off. So I kind of get out of bed and immediately almost pissed myself because the living room LIT UP and you know me, I ran back into bed (I jumped a good three feet, not joking) and seriously thought I was going to die.

If you know me at all, you know the one thing I cannot handle is scary stuff. Scary movies, Halloween, haunted tours, etc. The irony here is that I am now living it. To fully appreciate my full wussy-ness, please know that I have never seen the movie Scream all the way through. I skipped through everything and only did that much because I really was in love with Skeet Ulrich. I am scared of the dark, I am scared of Mormons and priests, I'm scared of most dogs and I'm scared of bugs. The fact that I am having to deal with this is freaking me out to no end.

I need to figure out what the hell I'm going to do about this because this sucks.

So if you never hear from me again, assume I have fallen victim to a horror movie in my own house.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nebraska, Day One. Also known as "why I'm a fan of the Interstate system".

Let me just start this by saying that Dwight Eisenhower did us all a huge service when he put his seal of approval on the United States Interstate System. (At least I'm like 75% sure he did, and I'm too lazy to care and look it up so let's just all pretend that I am for sure right on this.) Because anyone who willingly ignores this system for whatever reason is an idiot.

Yet that is exactly what we did on Friday on our drive to Nebraska. MapQuest, Maggie the GPS and my iPhone all told me that I should expect to be on the road for about 8-9 hours. So knowing full well that I speed, I always assume it'll be at the lower end. Yet.. something in my gut told me to leave early. I was able to get Matt to convince his parents that we should leave Superior at 6:30 in the morning. Just in case. So that is what we did. You see, we were going to follow his parents all the way down. I even figured in the unnecessary stop in St. Cloud to stop at a craft store for Matt's mom. What I did not figure in was the following:


1. Matt's dad? Drives all over the road. I'm talking weaving, accelerating speeds, decreasing speeds, erratic use of a blinker when you aren't turning, etc. It was BANANAS. I can see where Matt got his road skills from. I also decided that I think maybe his parents are scared of traffic, thus leading us to #2. 


2. We took the longest fucking way possible. At about 2pm when I talked to my dad on the phone (who is an over the road truck driver, the master of the road, and can tell you what exit to take for any destination in the continental United States and has never had any kind of road violation EVER) and told him that in almost 8 hours of driving that we had not even gotten to Iowa yet? He started screaming, "What the FUCK, Sara? How are you not in Iowa? Where the hell are you?" I don't know, dad. Neither does the iPhone because we're so far fucking out we aren't pinging any kind of satellite. I can barely get reception on my phone and where the Wi Fi or 3G thing is on the phone, all I see is the letter "E" which I don't know what that is, but it means no internet. 

I'm not sure if you are familiar with the ass crack of America, but this is what it looks like.
 Corn.
 And more corn, with sporadic soy beans spread about.

Bitches, this was my view for 12 HOURS. Let me say that again, 12 HOURS. What? Yeah, 12 HOURS.
 Here's Matt and I while stopped in St. Cloud for Matt's mom's craft fix and everyone's pee break.

Also what sucks is that approximately oh... three hours into the trip? My fucking cd player in my van DIED. I'm talking will not work at all. Guess what also does not work? The shitty iPod player Matt got me for Christmas. I knew it was shit because it requires a radio signal to work, but my van gets really shitty radio signal and so it never works unless you hold this entire contraption at an impossible angle forever. So I get pissed off that I am not stuck between really shitty country music or Bible Bangers For Jesus radio. Not only for the remainder 9 hours of that trip but also the return trip on Monday.

It's like driving straight into Hell willingly.

Once we get to the hotel forever later, we were almost killed twice in the hotel parking lot within the span of ten minutes by two different drivers both on cell phones and oblivious to cars who are either parked or driving on the service road minding our own business. So in ten minutes my heart almost stopped. Twice. It was all very stressful.

Matt and I left our kids with Matt's parents for the evening to swim (or, as it turns out, just sit on the side of the pool scared of water) so we could go out to meet Gini and Shannon.
I have to be honest, I feel like a complete dumbass that I got NOT ONE PICTURE of any of us that night. Seriously. Blogger fucking FAIL. Gini got one of Matt and I... and I think that's it? I have no idea. But I had a great time. I have loved Gini for years, it's seriously been years now and she even sent me some really good jam once made from real fruit, which you all know I hate, and it was awesome. And then she's super pregnant and she's like the cutest god damn pregnant person ever and my uterus hurt and Matt gave me the side "don't fucking ask for another baby" eye and I got sad but realized now I have an excuse to buy baby clothes. WIN! And then Shannon is ridiculously taller than me and skinny and pretty and funny and yeah. Her and I email frequently and she's just so great and I'm glad we got to meet in person. AND their husband/boyfriend (respectively) are really great as well and I had a good time just getting to know them.

I felt like I was maybe a drag but having been in the car for 12 HOURS I was just happy to be there and be awake. But we went into Omaha to meet them, and we had appetizers at the Dundee Dell which is really hip and fun. Such a cool atmosphere all over the Dundee neighborhood too. After that we ended up going to this bar called Beercade which is as hilariously great as it sounds. It's a funky, relatively small, bar that has vintage arcade games. I'm talking PacMan, Donkey Kong, and a bunch of killing games that Matt was so enthralled with he apparently spent $25 (in quarters) playing. It was really fun. I wanted to stay out much longer but figuring it was about an hour (knowing Matt would get us lost and true to form, he did) to get back to the hotel, we duck out at 11:30. But I had a GREAT time hanging out with these lambwhores and they would totally fit in with my regular friends here at home.

(And Gini? You absolutely have to come for Bayfield Apple Fest one year because Matt won't ever take me, but if you and Eric were here he'd feel socially obligated. So... do it for me! I might even eat an apple that day!)

So.. day one was fucking exhausting. Day two was exponentially more awkward, but you'll hear about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moo.

The last time I talked about my weight was back in January. I was all proud of myself and let me be the first to tell you that it has all gone to shit.

Well, not totally all to shit. I'm not even close to my worst weight, but still. My thighs have reclaimed their chunk and for all of these months I have blissfully ignored it. I am fully aware I have done close to no exercise since November. I could run on the fuckmill but that has been gone since March- my mother in law has that now. The winter months are not my friend and so I try to stay indoors as much as possible. Now that it's gotten warmer I have decided to get out and start running again.

OK, that's not why. This past weekend in Nebraska I happened to get a good look at myself in the hotel mirror and was like, "Who fucking let Baby Beluga out??" and then was like... oh. That's me. Awesome. God damn.

Then when we were in Jay Cooke State Park on Father's Day Olivia took a picture of Matt and I. And I pretty much looked awful. Sure, part of it was probably that Olivia a terrible photographer doing it from a weird angle and part of it was that it was at the end of our hike and let's just say I wasn't feeling real fresh.

So this week I am kick starting my weight loss routine. On Sunday we walked around the Omaha Zoo for the entire day and I woke up yesterday barely able to move. Today I went for a good half mile run (don't laugh), and walked for another half mile. I am fucking sore. I am going to kick start this because this shit is unacceptable. It is not OK to feel a jiggle while standing still.

I don't take very good care of myself out of laziness and picky eating ways. I cannot force myself to choose a vegetable over a chicken nugget, I am genetically fucked up to where eating fruits and vegetables seem wrong. This is where natural selection would have kicked in centuries ago but thanks to mutated and processed foods I am still alive. I do a really good job making sure my kids and Matt are taken care of and I leave no time for me. Not only is shit weather a road block but so is the fact that if I were to choose going out for a half hour or so versus cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, or getting an activity ready for my kids, I'm pretty much not going to choose exercise. But dammit- I need to.

So there you go. Your leader has fallen off the wagon but by fucking god, she's getting back on. Yee haw.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Knee Deep

If you like Sarah Dessen novels, you will love this one!

Knee Deep by Jolene Perry
View cover.jpg in slide show

Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.


This book is actually an incredibly fast read at just under 200 pages. I flew through this baby while our town was in the process of flooding. I actually got through THREE books that day and you'll see those reviews coming up soon. 


What I liked about this book is that I feel like it really captures the mind sight of a teenage girl. Ronnie is smart, driven, and she's in love. Coincidentally, this makes her an idiot. And all of you with a vagina know that when you were 17 you were an idiot and dated that loser boy that thinking about it now you cringe and praise baby Jeebus you saw the light and moved on. What alarms me is that for a girl who has parents who are seemingly really great and she's close with them, she tells them nothing. It's obvious that her teenage lover has become abusive and in the midst of it she's debating whether or not to have sex for the first time and as a wiser and older adult, I cringe because lord knows I've been there. That scares the crap out of me as a parent of two kids who will someday be at that age. I found myself yelling at the book when she would make decisions and her parents let her go off when they knew better. It's such a true to life story that you can relate to it even if you haven't had to handle situations like this yourself, you at least know someone who has. 


I have read a few Sarah Dessen books and I would absolutely group this one with her books because it's written in the same voice, has similar topics, and could stand side by side on a shelf because they are equally good. So, if you're a fan of Sarah Dessen you will love this one! 


Kindle
Nook
Google
Smashwords


Happy reading, everyone!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fucking Chaos.

So I'm in the middle of packing for our four day, long weekend trip to Nebraska. I have been very excited for this trip not just because I'll be meeting cool and wonderful people, or because I'm going to a really kick ass looking zoo, but because I actually have money in which to pay for it. That's right- vacation #1 where nothing is going on the credit card.

*Let us all rejoice in my awesome budgeting powers and celebrate the fact we are not eating cereal for dinner for a very long time.*

(OK, I take that back, the cereal diet will commence in July to pay for the upcoming Chicago. But it shall be a glorious few days without cereal!)

But what's pissing me off are these things:

1. I am a road warrior. When I road trip, my ass is on the road promptly by 6am no later because I like to get wherever I'm going as quick as possible. I try to jam as much fun and awesome stuff into my trip and that requires no pissing around on the US Interstate system.

2. So, we've had some flooding. That means I-35 south is closed in a big chunk so we have to take detours. I fucking hate detours because the state of Minnesota never does them well so that means the signage will be inadequate. You can almost count on it.

3. We can't go directly there because we are following my in laws and they want to stop in St. Cloud at some giant craft store to get moose and bear stuff for the church bazaar that isn't even until November and STAB. Just for shits and giggles, go onto Mapquest and map out Superior, WI to St. Cloud, MN to Fremont, NE. And then ignore that because we aren't going that route because that would make sense, but instead we're going the scenic route because Matt's dad would rather do that. That means we will be doing 55 mph at our top speed. For at least 11 hours. Fucking KILL ME.

4. I'm packing our stuff and while I amaze myself at my efficient packing skills, I am in death stare mode with Matt. For WEEKS I have asked what he's wearing to the wedding on Saturday and he tells me his khakis slacks and button up shirt. Whatever, fine. Guess what does not fit him? Every pair of pants he owns that do not have grease stains from work. He's trying to convince me he can wear his too short khakis with a stain on the crotch. I've just sent his ass to Target to figure it out and not fucking embarrass me.

5. I still have to clean my house. Which, you'd think I would have done this yesterday while at home during the Great Flood of 2012, but no. I instead chose to take a nap, read and watch Mob Wives of Chicago.

So, bitches. I'll have a book review for you tomorrow which is really quite good, and then I'll make sure to post something for you again on Monday or Tuesday. Huzzah.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The End of the World. Or, that time I was glad I could swim, just in case.

If you want to talk about a bad day, perhaps you should not do so on my Facebook wall. Unless you're deaf, illiterate, or a hermit, you've probably heard about the massive flooding in my little town. I have a bunch of pictures I've taken off of other people's Facebook because I am not retarded and driving to the scenes of worst damage because I have paid attention when they say there are sinkholes. And anybody paying any kind of attention for the last oh, five years, knows that Duluth? Has a terrible road infrastructure that keeps getting delayed because nobody can afford to fix it. That just screams for sink holes. Anyways. Pictures. (In case you can't see the picture or it just shows lines, click on the picture once or twice and it should show up. Or, right click on it and choose "open image in new tab". That usually works.)

So guess what? Despite all of our bitching in the winter about Duluth being a hill, it turns out it does not matter. You can still flood.

And let me be clear- this all happened OVER NIGHT, bitches. We were all told we were maybe going to have some tornado warnings and most definitely severe thunderstorms. Which, we had been having spurts of for about a week and it's no big deal. We deal with that every year. What we don't deal with is THIS MUCH rain all in a matter of a few hours.

This morning we learned that our zoo, click here for link, was hit hard early on. The zoo itself is in kind of a valley and the walk ways occasionally wash out from a lot of rain but it's not anything major. So far eleven animals are confirmed dead from drowning with more to come because the zoo is still 3/4 under water. The worst hit was the barnyard animals (goats, sheep, donkey, etc). A seal got out (actually swam out over the zoo walls) and was eventually rescued from Grand Avenue.
 Here's a car dealership in Hermantown, which is basically the top of the hill. Show me the CarFax.
This is right next to my work. I had heard around 5am this morning that this road had washed out and Matt told me even if my work was open, I wasn't going. Fortunately they ended up closing the campus earlier this morning.
The road to Barker's Island in Superior completely washed away as well.
Here is the Superior Senior High School. This is close to East End of Superior where a lot of flooding has happened.
This is looking down into the mall area- you can see Target in the way back almost to the roof.
Here is some road damage from flooding in Duluth.
This is the "creek" that runs through the zoo. Obviously with water like that there wasn't much anybody could do.
One of the first sink holes to open up in Duluth.
This is in Superior near the high school. I still don't know why people are trying to drive through this shit.
This is really serious- the Thompson Dam. I read somewhere earlier that if this little damn gives in (damage being assessed right now) that SEVERAL communities will go underwater. Fortunately for me, that it's our town, but it's an area I used to live in.
More flooding in West Duluth, I believe.

Central Park in East End, Superior. You can just barely see the top of a fence here.
On top of flooding and sinkholes, we also have landslides.
The ironic part is that there have been questions about the integrity of some sewers in Duluth but this one held up better than the road.
One of our favorite restaurants, almost totally underwater.

The I-35 tunnels in Duluth. You take these to go up the North Shore. Pretty much every road leading north has been closed due to flooding, and parts of I-35S are closed as well. That's even worse because it's mostly under construction so with all of the flooding I imagine projects have been pushed back indefinitely.

I have so many friends who have flooded apartments, homes, and basements. Would you believe almost nobody has flood insurance because we are not a flood plain? This kind of thing is just not normal for here so  my heart breaks for everyone I know who is digging through their losses. There are many communities who have been evacuated or in the process of doing so because the uncertainty of dams holding up.

As for us? We are SO incredibly fortunate to apparently live in the least damaged area around. Despite being surrounded by pedophiles and rapists, our 'hood is not flooded easily. We've only had minimal water in our crawl space, no more than what we'd normally get for rain. Our sewers are all holding up just fine and our streets are totally dry. I ventured out for a bit to get my hair cut only because I was told Tower Avenue (the main drag through town) was fine and no problems. It's fucking WEIRD driving around town looking at what flood waters can actually do to a place. We're expected to get some more rain over night but hopefully nothing like we had last night and through most of today.

But what honestly made me really sad? The loss of the Jay Cooke Park Swinging Bridge.
We were literally JUST there on Sunday and my kids had the best time hopping across the bridge as it swayed. The fact that the water is high enough to take out the bridge is tremendous, because I have NEVER seen the water anywhere near that high. That bridge was HIGH off the top of the river.

So if you want to send some prayers and positive thoughts to the people around me, I'm sure they would be more than happy to take them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Boobs and Cars.

So I have a whole bunch of random things to chat about and some pictures. YAY.

While driving around Superior and Duluth recently, I've come across these gems of vehicles and I ask myself.. why?

 It's not a great picture but I put Matt on camera duty and this was the best he got. He apparently feels like a dumb ass taking pictures of people and their ghetto property whereas I don't. You'll see that in a minute. But the side of this Blazer has Scarface painted on the side. Really? Because nothing says bad ass like a four door, at least a decade old Chevy Blazer. The only thing you're toting in this thing is a diaper bag and a car jack. Maybe even a snow brush if you're like me and always prepared.
 Then I see this. Now, you know I'll about saving money and being thrifty but do-it-yourself paint jobs on Mercury Sable's do not count. Especially when you don't realize that one can of purple spray paint isn't going to do the entire job. Not even your entire back end.
 So then you're just driving around looking like an asshole while I pass you on the Blatnik Bridge taking your picture for posterity.
 On the way back from Olivia's class field trip I ended up following this idiot. Never mind he's still driving a Geo Prism with no bumper to be seen, but his bumper sticker is ridiculous. It reads, "The only Bush I trust is my own". And it was a middle aged man driving this. Ladies, he's probably single. I'm just saying.

My other plight as of late is bra shopping. I've complained about the bra shopping before and we were good for awhile. But now that it's summer it only highlights the fact that having size 36D boobs I am limited in what I can wear. Because unlike most women, I hate wearing something where my bra strap shows. First off, it looks trashy. I don't care if you aren't trashy, it looks trashy. It's not attractive to wear a dress and have bra straps showing, or even if you are wearing something with straps but your bra shows.
Like this for example. The tank top and my bra.. same color. Except this is unacceptable. See, world? I look like an asshole for you.

So my issue is that I need a strapless bra. I can't find one to save my fucking life. Am I expecting too much when I don't want to be hiking my bra up all night? Or do all women do that because that's just what you do with a strapless bra? Am I being an idiot here? Am I putting too much thought into this?

My other obstacle was to find a good push up bra. Now, I know you're saying, "But Sara, you have size 36D boobs- do you really need them higher?" To which I say, yes I fucking do bitches. The problem here is that I have had two kids. Back in the day, the girls were on high alert all of the time. Not that they are down to my waist or anything, but I think all of these years being this heavy have taken a toll on the girls. And quite frankly, my back is also in agreement. So I went into Victoria's Secret to get me a push up bra. And guess what I learned?

That in push up bra world I am a 36DD.

Oh fuck me.

So I found one that fit really well and felt OK. And paid fucking $58 for it. Which is what I'm wearing in that picture above, coincidentally. The only problem with it is that my boobs get hot. You flat chested girls don't understand what a pain in the ass it is to know that you are sweating between your boobs while doing nothing. And it's GROSS. It makes me fully understand why they have those body wipes out now for women whereas before I found it appalling people felt the need to use them. Well, now I fucking get it. Also?  Every shirt I wear makes me look like the biggest slut ever with this bra on. Nobody is safe. It's like an inch away from making my boobs a chin rest should I need a nap.

So ladies. I need bra ideas. Do you have boobs but have a bra you love so much you'd buy a 100 of them? You need to let me know where you get them, and which style it is. We don't need me hiking my bra up all day or sporting a chin rest. Help a fellow vagina owner out.

A Lighter Shade of Gray (Giveaway)

No homieoats, I'm not depressed nor am I going to talk about being all down and out. Instead, this is a book review. You'll live.

A Lighter Shade of Gray-Devon Pearse
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What does it feel like to stare into the face of madness? Or to anticipate your own? Would you drive away your only love? Could you pretend it didn’t matter? How far would you go to protect a friend, or to avenge a death? Ten years ago, Devon gave up the love of her life, fearing she would one day fall victim to the mental illness that has slowly ravaged the mind of her mother, who is now being cared for in a private facility. Just when it seems Devon might have a chance to make up for past mistakes, her best friend Cass becomes a suspect in the murder of her sister’s drug-dealing boyfriend. Devon knows Cass is lying about the details of her involvement and the lead detective on the case, convinced that Cass is guilty, is relentless in his pursuit of justice. When her mother’s young, emotionally disturbed roommate insinuates she knows something about the night of the murder, as well as details from Devon’s own life that no one else is privy to, Devon becomes desperate to uncover the truth before Detective Lake does. As the investigation continues, Devon is led down a path she never expected and forced to face her greatest fears of life and love. Tangled in a web of lies, regrets and questions, can she find a way to let go of the past and start again? And, once the mystery is solved, can she live with the secrets she’s uncovered?
OK. Let me tell you what about this book I did not like before I tell you my final thoughts on the book. First off, I have to be honest, the main character's name is Devon Pearse.. the same as the author. I actually had to stop and look this book up online to see if it's a memoir because it just seemed weird. But no, it's a novel. So that was kind of bizarre and then switching your mentality from memoir to novel is really freaking difficult. 
The other thing was that this took me FOREVER to get into. It is 470 pages so that's daunting for any reader, even one like me who eats an entire book in a day, but this took me days to get into. I got to the point where I was going to give up because the story line with Cass is just too lame and I wasn't buying it and I feel like the author is waging a war on what kind of book she wants, a murder mystery or a story about a woman battling her demons. Those are both hefty story lines and to take on both is a daunting task. 
You're saying, "But Sara, why did you keep reading?" I'll tell you why. The story line of Devon's life being put on hold because of her fear of inheriting her mother's mental illness and how she missed out on the love of her life who suddenly comes back hooked me. If the story had been mostly that, I would have been in love and read that baby in a matter of hours. 
I did finish the book and I'm going to tell you what- I was happy and devastated at the end. Devon and Drew.. I can't even tell you because it ruins it. But my heart BROKE because a part of me is a romantic and believes in the hope that there is some guy out there for all of us who will worship us and give his life to us and yeah. Swoon. So here I am on a Sunday afternoon, in bed, eating Hot Tamales and crying my god damn eyes out for fictional characters. 
So here's what I'm going to tell you. If you are not scared of heavy plot lines, 470 pages and like rooting for the underdog, you should absolutely read this book. If you're just a casual book reader you should probably skip it because you won't like it. But I will say this- this ended up being an unexpectedly good book for me. I felt satisfied at the end, and though all of the plot lines had me concerned, Devon pulled them all together and sealed the book off really well. 
SO. For those of you who aren't afraid, I'm able to give away ONE copy to a US/Canada reader. Here's how you can enter for your chance to win- 
Leave a comment on this post saying you want to win and leave me your email address. 
Tweet or share on Facebook (leave a separate comment for each)
Blog about this giveaway (leave a separate comment)
Giveaway ends MONDAY, JUNE 25. Good luck! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Brand New Human Being GIVEAWAY

Can I just say that I finished this book in under three hours? Because it's true.

Brand New Human Being - Emily Jeanne Miller


Meet Logan Pyle, a lapsed grad student and stay-at-home dad who’s holding it together by a thread. His father, Gus, has died; his wife, Julie, has grown distant; his four-year-old son has gone back to drinking from a bottle. When he finds Julie kissing another man on a pile of coats at a party, the thread snaps. Logan packs a bag, buckles his son into his car seat, and heads north with a 1930s Louisville Slugger in the back of his truck, a maxed-out credit card in his wallet, and revenge in his heart.
After some bad decisions and worse luck, he lands at his father’s old A-frame cabin, where his father’s young widow, Bennie, now lives. She has every reason to turn Logan away, but when she doesn’t, she opens the door to unexpected redemption—for both of them.
Almost immediately this book reminded me of Fathermucker. I keep reading books written in a dad's point of view hoping I would get some insight into what goes through Matt's head, but still I feel like I'm not quite getting it. Nonetheless, this book is good. It has a subtle humor to it and if you're a parent you'll get it. You will know the frustration Logan feels when his son goes through a baby phase, for example. 
Anyone who is married is going to relate to Logan and Julie. Though the ended up married in a maybe not so conventional way, they both adore their son but it isn't always enough. After the loss of his dad, Logan is kind of in a funk and sees Julie working more and drifting further away. I know from personal experience that marriage with kids isn't always awesome even less so when you start throwing other stress into it, it's easy to drift away and shut down. 
Probably what I loved most about this book is that you find yourself rooting for Logan the whole way. As a mom I completely cringed when he did or said certain things to his son but I felt for the guy. He's stressed out, he's questioning his role in the family, and he wants so badly for things to get better but he's lost. I really liked this book because it just hits home. Oftentimes I find myself lost in my own life and marriage and I want it to be better but I'm not always sure what path to take to get there. 
What's really cool is I'm able to offer one copy to one of my blog readers (US/Canada only, no PO boxes)! Here's how to win your own copy: (Make sure you leave me your email address so I can contact you. 
*Must be a follower via GFC
*Leave me a comment on this post telling me what the biggest challenge to your marriage or relationship is.
*Share on Facebook, Twitter, or on your blog (leave separate comment for each)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why People In The Country Drive Me Nuts.

Before I get into a well overdue rant that I know you all miss, we need to do the giveaway winner for the book The Exceptionals. Random.org has given me the number 6. Which is...

SHIRLEY!

So yay!

But on to the rant.

I live in an area where a fairly large number of people live "in the country". I don't understand why people would want to live out in the country, the perk of warmer weather isn't enough to mitigate the fact that there are more bugs and wildlife. I'm not a fan of either of these things.

But the biggest complaint I have of people who live in the country is that the bitch about "coming into town". Seriously. You'd think the commute from their home to town is like pioneers hitching their wagons and going across the Oregon Trail. You invite people to something on a Saturday and god FORBID they live in the country because you'll inevitably hear, "Oh.. well then I'd have to come into town..." Um yeah. That's because everything worth your time is in town.

I couldn't live in the country because I don't know what life would be like without impulsive and unnecessary trips to Target. Or late night french fry cravings? How do you deal with that? Pull out a potato from your garden and hope that does it? Every trip into town requires planning, it's not like you can just run back home to get something or drop your groceries off. Plus, on every drive you have to dodge deer.

Have you ever driven for awhile in the country? Every time I do my anxiety is through the fucking roof constantly being on the lookout for rogue and suicidal wildlife that just hate their lives and want to be killed via minivan.

You know what else I notice? Is that some of the poorest people I know are living out in the country. In trailers. Seriously. Then they complain of the price of gas. And I can't even feel sorry for you because you willingly moved yourself out there like an idiot.

Also? Living in the country should not be a reason to not make it into work on snow days. Seriously. Again, you choose to live out there knowing you will get a lot of snow. It's just like if you chose to live next to the ocean- you lose all ability to complain about hurricanes ruining your home. I kind of don't feel bad for you- you know there will be hurricanes and you know that means your house will either blow away or get flooded. You are a special brand of stupid if you still chose to live there.

So if you are one of those people who live in the country, please know that you are annoying when you bitch about your drive, how early you have to get up to get to work on time, how much you pay for gas, or complain that you are missing out on life because you're a buzzkill and have to leave before it gets dark for fear of rogue, suicidal animals as mentioned above.

There is a reason why every summer I am sensitive to country people and their non stop bitching about driving into town. I so wish I could detail the reason, but I can't. I'm sorry. Just know it's amazing and my in person rant on it is pretty awesome.

The Sixes

Time for another book review! A little over a year ago I read and reviewed Hush by Kate White and so when I got the opportunity to read another book she's written, I totally jumped on it.

The Sixes
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Right after Phoebe Hall’s long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, she jumps at the offer to teach in a small private college in Pennsylvania run by her former boarding school roommate. But something evil lurks behind the quiet campus caf├ęs and leafy maple trees. When the body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, disturbing accusations begin to surface about abuses wrought by a secret campus society known as The Sixes. Haunted by memories of her own school days, Phoebe launches a private investigation, and soon finds herself in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive. Because with the truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and starting over may be a crime punishable by death.


I always forget how much I love a good mystery until I find myself reading one, and this was pretty damn good. Let me talk about the things that annoyed me first so we can move on quickly from that to what I liked about the book. First off, I kind of wanted to punch Phoebe. I wanted to punch Phoebe because she's that woman who is always way too focused on the wrong thing. She's setting aside her personal safety and ignoring blatant warnings in order to figure out who the Sixes are and what their role is on campus. Never mind the fact that I never felt like the Sixes were a big deal. Is this wrong of me? In hind sight I think maybe there's something fundamentally wrong with me that I don't think they are a big deal. 


Moving on from that, I really liked that I absolutely had no idea what was going on. I couldn't figure out all of the puzzle pieces to solve it. I will say that I absolutely did not see the ending coming even though the character who was the culprit seemed a bit off to me. I couldn't figure out what it was about that person's story (see, I'm not giving you ANY hints) that seemed strange, but having watched every episode of every variety of Law & Order at least twice, something was totally off. Which is what Hutch (a character) suspected and tried to share with Phoebe. 


So overall? This was good. Best mystery ever? No, but it was entertaining and I enjoyed reading it for sure. It's enough to keep you intrigued all the way through. Even for the last minute curve ball thrown at the end. 


I suggest you check out Kate's website and even her Facebook. After reading her books you'll consider yourself a fan. I can't wait for her next one! 


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What the hell AM I doing this summer?

It feels like I haven't been updating you on the awesomeness that is my life and what I'm doing this summer. And I have a lot going on (so it seems) so let's get you up to speed:

1. Next weekend? I'm going to Nebraska. I'm not excited for the wedding at all that we're going to mostly because I don't even know these people AND they spelled my name wrong on the invitation. Which, can we be honest here? I feel like if you are asking people to come to your wedding, which statistically has a high rate of failure, and then you expect gifts, and you know people are shelling out gas and hotel money for this? You can at least spell my fucking name right. There is no "H" at the end of my name, hooker. I send a Christmas card every year for the last eight years (never mind I've never gotten one back, that is another rant), so there is no reason for you to misspell my name. Bride Etiquette 101. So while that will likely suck and be a waste of time, I am MOST excited to meet Shannon and Gini, fellow awesome bloggers with vaginas, and it's going to be fun. I just have to confirm what my night in laws are watching the kids and ladies? I am hoping for some shenanigans. SQUEAL.

2. Oh, and then we're going to the Omaha Zoo because everybody keeps telling me it's the shit and we're going to see. I'm pretty sure it'll be better than our zoo because only like half of our exhibits have living animals in them so you know... the kids might actually see a real kangaroo or some shit.

3. Then I'm going to do a girls weekend with Amy, which we have not done in what feels like forever. We've both been busy with life and work and just crazy crap, so we're doing it.

4. Then she's going to come up here another weekend and we're going to be Duluth tourists and maybe go up the North Shore. It should be really fun and hopefully I'll get some awesome lake pictures.

5. I really want to go to this concert in Duluth at the end of July... if only I had money. I'm going to try because hello- it's Everclear, Sugar Ray, Lit, 311, and some other band I can't remember. Hello high school. It'd be such a good time.

6. The Tennessee trip is up in the air. The plan is to go to my cousin Rhonda's wedding but because of finances and some juggling at work.. it might not happen. So maybe.

7. But Chicago Family Fun Trip in August is 75% a go. I am going to see how much money I have left after Nebraska to determine how much awesome we get into while in Chicago. But I'm hoping that we will meet up with fellow blogger Jen and her fantastically adorable family. Cross yo fingers.

8. I have a *surprise* trip planned that not even Matt knows about. I got these 2 nights/3 days trip in the Wisconsin Dells for DIRT CHEAP and I'm in the process of trying to book it.. maybe for the end of July? I don't know yet and I'm going to call there tomorrow to see what I can do for dates.

9. I have a lot of PTO prep for the next year to do. I refuse to be ass backwards next year and I am going to be as organized as possible going into the next year.

10. Did I ever mention that I'm the co-troop leader for Olivia's Girl Scout troop? Yes, you all laugh at me and say "I told you so" but it's going to be a not so awful thing. I'm teaching the Daisy group so my goal is to be ubber organized and have crafts pre-arranged all before school starts because I am a badass like that and I'm going to show up our leader.

And.. that's it? It sounds eventful but I have a feeling I'll have a lot of down time too. Which is good because I have book reviews up the ASS all summer. Seriously. Be prepared for me to fill up your must read list because a lot of these books have started coming in and are awesome.

OH!! OK. So I got this idea in my head now that I want to take my kids to all 50 states. Which, sounds lofty, but I think I can do it if I break it into smaller trips. So... leave me a comment telling me what state you live in, and if you could think of the TOP (worthwhile) touristy things to do, places to stay or eat, whatever, let me know. I'm trying to make a master list state by state and then budget trips accordingly. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

8 years of bliss. Sometimes.

So today is my eighth wedding anniversary. It's also the eighth year in a row Matt has rejoiced that he has made it another year to sit and bask in my awesome and everyone should only be so lucky.

You guys know that I am nothing but honest but sometimes I wonder if I knew then what I know now.. would I still have gotten married? The answer really is yes.
In the course of our eight years we have had to deal with two kids, buying a home, being flat ass fucking broke, Matt losing his job, mental health issues, infidelity, my post-partum depression, bankruptcy, having to start all over from scratch, health scares, job problems, and so much more not even in that order. To have all of that and more in either years on one couple is a lot. And I mean a lot. Not to mention it is really hard to learn how to be a good wife and a good mother all while keeping your identity as a person and not losing yourself. Nobody ever talks about that part of adulthood and that's where I think a lot of people go wrong- they lose themselves and then blame the spouse when really, it's your own fault and I was guilty of that.

There have been points in our marriage where I have really questioned us staying together, maybe we should just get divorced, sometimes I've felt like I'm the only one trying to make things work, and the spark is hardly ever there, and I often wonder maybe there is something better out there. We truly are absolute opposites as people. I'm outgoing, fun, social and he is not. He is one of the most anti-social, un-fun people I know. And I'm not even saying that as a put down, it's just a fact. He really doesn't like other people and when I get him to join me with other people I am always on edge he'll come off as a jerk because he's not a jerk, he's just not great at social interaction. So it's probably one of the reasons he and I work- I over compensate for him.

But no matter how bad things have gotten or how low I have ever felt, divorce just isn't an option. And I'll tell you why.
Because I know deep down? We are a good couple. He really is the ying to my yang, the macaroni to my cheese, the tampon to my vagina, he is the only other person that could take the amount of shit I dish to him with such a calm attitude. He is a lot of things and lacks in a lot of areas but I am no walk in the park either. This may be shocking, I know, but I can be a handful. I'm moody, bossy, bitchy, sassy, overly organized, controlling, my OCD is enough to turn anyone into an alcoholic, I'm demanding, inquisitive, adventurous, and I have a hard time making up my mind when faced with choices. I'm difficult, peeps.
And Matt handles it with grace. He really does. Sure, he pisses me off and I sometimes give him the side eye with an unsaid warning to stay in line while we watch shows about wives murdering their husbands and I'm only half joking, but I'm lucky. I'm lucky that he's an awesome dad, he's a great provider, he puts up with my shit and my baggage, he lets me go to concerts and fun things with my friends, he gives me all of the room I need to not go postal on the family.

When I said my wedding vows I really meant them. Every issue we have ever had has fallen into the better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health. Every single one of them. I get kind of annoyed when people who have lesser issues than we have call it quits and throw in the towel because if Matt and I can bounce back? Anybody else can. Because not only do we love each other? We value each other in each of our lives. No matter what Matt will always be a part of my life even if he walked away tomorrow and I know I would be in his. Though we'll never do that. We somehow make it another year every year and I don't take that for granted.

We know first hand that marriage is work. It is hard work. After all of this time I have learned that I can't change him and that means that he will never be romantic. He wasn't before and he won't just suddenly learn it. He is a terrible communicator and he isn't going to turn into someone who can express his feelings. He may not work on our relationship the way I think he should but he does it in his own ways, like when he randomly does dishes. Sure, he might do a terrible job but that's his way of helping me out and saying he knows I am frazzled. I've finally learned to appreciate the things he does do instead of focus on the things I wish he did better. And that makes me sad for all of those people who got divorced too soon and never got to that point, because this is kind of a good spot to be in. I feel like I actually found my niche in life and I didn't think I would ever get here.
So happy eight years baby cakes. I still look at you and am secretly thrilled you picked me out of all the girls trying to get your number. That of the girls you dated I'm the one you thought would make a great baby mama and wife. xo

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bad luck and deck?

So I have been trying to get Matt to finish up the deck and everyone knows the best motivator is for me to stand there like a supervisor. But instead of just sitting there doing nothing I figured I would clean out the garage. Which I totally did, at least the side where all of the kid stuff is and my gardening crap. And then I found this box:

And then I got curious. I vaguely remember packing this box thinking I'd want the keepsakes for later.
And so it was like Christmas. The first thing I opened were wine glasses from the reception hall that they gave us. I don't know why I wanted to keep those? So I tossed them.
Then I found our unity candle holder things.
And the favors we had at the wedding and then the one from our rehearsal dinner. I threw those out because have you seen what happens to chocolate when it's been in a hot garage in a box for 8 years? Gross.
My headpiece thingie, our guest book and pen. I threw the pen out and I'm undecided on the guest book. The headpiece I put away because who knows. Maybe Olivia will want it.
She'd wear it every day if I let her now.
My planning Bible. All of my notes and tabs were still in there and I decided to keep it. I had all of my costs recorded and I don't know. I toted that thing around for two years, I feel connected to it.
Then our unity candles. I remember my mother in law wanted to use these for someone else's wedding and I felt like that was kind of wrong. But now... I don't really care. Should I throw these out? They aren't anything I would really display anywhere in my house. But is it bad luck to throw them out?
Batman didn't care either way. Jerk.
And Jackson just laid on the deck while I did this. And while Matt worked on the deck.
He put the finishing trim on the edge and the lattice.
It's finished!
But leave it to me to find one area that cannot be left alone. I basically raised a stink and I'm pretty sure Matt muttered not so nice things under his breath.
But the kids didn't care. They love the deck.

So while we took funny pictures,
Matt fixed the one area that was driving me nuts.

My deck is OFFICIALLY FINISHED, LAMBWHORES. Let us all rejoice in my supreme supervisory skills.